The stay in intensive care

Sometimes initiated in an extreme emergency, care in an intensive care unit is a critical moment that can last from a few days to several months, during which every detail will count to offer a “second” life to the patients admitted in intensive care. Admission to intensive care is as much a sign of the implementation of intensive curative care as it is of your loved one’s vital prognosis and therefore of his or her great vulnerability. A prolonged stay in intensive care is often composed of multiple phases of improvement and worsening of your loved one’s condition. Also, the fragility of patients is such that caregivers are used to being very cautious in assessing the prognosis. Learn more about the risks

Admission to the intensive care unit is a crucial moment, where treatments are often intense and heavy in order to stabilize the patient’s condition and compensate for the failure of his vital functions. After this initial phase, and due to the fragility of the patient’s condition, the stay may still be fraught with complications.

One of the characteristics of resuscitation is the intensive and continuous monitoring carried out thanks to the equipment and the density of the care team. Learn more about the care team

Caregivers constantly evaluate and reassess your loved one’s health status, asking questions about the expected benefits of current treatments and the risks that these treatments may entail. Their main objective is to adapt the care to the individuality of your loved one, and to always work in his or her interest, taking into account his or her wishes even when he or she cannot express them. The information you give them is useful in estimating the state of health of your loved one before his or her hospitalization in the service, and thus in evaluating the benefits that he or she may derive from the implementation of heavy treatments. Learn more about the role of relatives

If the risks and consequences of certain treatments are too great to justify their use, or if the patient will not benefit fully from them, caregivers may decide not to use these therapies unreasonably or to reverse certain decisions that are deemed too invasive after the fact. These decisions, which are also subject to daily re-evaluation, are made in consultation with the entire care team, taking into account the wishes of the patient and his or her family.

Monitoring and alarms:

All organ replacement machines (respirator, dialysis, extra-corporeal circulation) also monitor a large number of parameters allowing for very precise adjustment of the therapy.

Learn more about resuscitation equipment

Each machine used by caregivers to monitor or treat patients is set to trigger a number of alarms. This allows caregivers to be alerted in case of a problem, but also when an action is required by the machine. Not all alarms are urgent, and while they can be anxiety-provoking for unaccustomed ears, Caregivers know how to recognize them and adapt their speed of reaction to the situation.

Key parameters of continuous monitoring in the ICU:

Electrocardiogram (ECG)

Measurement of the electrical activity of the heart using electrodes glued to the patient’s chest. This is usually the first plot that appears on the scope. This continuous measurement also monitors the heart rate, i.e. the number of beats per minute (the pulse), as well as the pattern itself, which may change in shape in some cases.

Blood pressure:

It can be taken discontinuously with a blood pressure cuff, or continuously with a catheter inserted into an artery in the wrist or groin.

Oxygen saturation:

It is taken continuously, usually with a small clip that is placed on the finger or ear. It allows to know the oxygenation of the patient and to adjust the oxygen supply according to his needs.